Archive for the ‘News’ Category

First female diocesan bishop in the Church of England consecrated

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
News

By Anglican Communion News Service

Bishops Rachel Treweek (left) and Sarah Mullally (right) with Archbishop Justin Welby outside Canterbury Cathedral. Photo: Rob Berry/Canterbury Cathedral


A wave of clapping and cheering greeted two newly consecrated bishops as they processed down a packed Canterbury Cathedral on a historic day. The Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, Bishop of Crediton, and the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, made history as the first women to be consecrated and ordained bishop in the historic heart of Anglicanism – Canterbury Cathedral.

The service was celebratory from beginning to end. Opening with the rousing Wesley Hymn O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing, the service continued with readings from Song of Songs and 2 Corinthians preceding the account of the encounter between Mary Magdalene and the risen Jesus from the Gospel of John.

The preacher, the Rt Revd Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney, reminded the congregation that the gospel depiction of Mary Magdalene was far removed from the imagination of masculine fantasy in works such as the De Vinci Code.

Mary Magdalene was a significant leader in the community of Jesus, he said, and it was no accident that she was the first to speak with the risen Jesus and the first to tell the good news of his resurrection.

In a sermon punctuated with pithy observation Bishop Newman called on Bishops Rachel and Sarah to make a difference in the life of the church.

“I hope that women bishops will disturb us,” he said. “I hope they will challenge the conventions of the Church of England, which continues to be led and directed by too many people like me: white, male, middle-aged professionals.”

Bishop Treweek is the first woman to be a Diocesan Bishop in the Church of England but she is not the first in the Anglican Communion. In Canterbury she was joined by the Rt Revd Helen-Ann Hartley, the Bishop of the Diocese of Waikato in New Zealand, and the Rt Revd Cate Waynick, the Bishop of the Diocese of Indianapolis in the USA.

To add to the sense of history they processed alongside Bishop Barbara Harris, the first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion, who was consecrated in 1989.

The Diocese of Gloucester has partnership links with dioceses in South India, Sweden, Tanzania and the USA. Its link Diocese of El Camino Real in California also has a woman diocesan bishop who became the first woman bishop to preside in an English Cathedral when she visited Gloucester as part of a Continuing Indaba journey in 2010.

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Anglican Journal News, July 24, 2015

Toronto cathedral hosts Truth and Reconciliation exhibit

Posted on: July 26th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Archivist Nancy Mallett points to a copy of the official apology given by then-Primate Michael Peers on behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada for its role in the Indian residential school system—one of the items on display over the summer at St. James Cathedral in Toronto. Photo by Matt Gardner

Archivist Nancy Mallett points to a copy of the official apology given by then-Primate Michael Peers on behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada for its role in the Indian residential school system—one of the items on display over the summer at St. James Cathedral in Toronto. Photo by Matt Gardner

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A special exhibit on the legacy of Indian residential schools is open to the public daily throughout July and August at St. James Cathedral in Toronto.

The display includes a range of artifacts related to the residential schools and the history of missionaries to Indigenous communities throughout Canada. Many of the items are from the General Synod archives and additional departments at Church House, while others come from the diocese of Toronto archives.

Alongside the artifacts are a series of displays featuring newspaper clippings, photographs, letters and documents which are divided into five sections: In The Beginning, Truth, Apology, Healing, and Reconciliation.

Nancy Mallett, archivist and museum curator for St. James Cathedral, played the lead role in organizing the display.

A display case from the Truth and Reconciliation exhibit features items saved from a classroom library and interest centre at a residential school, along with materials for performing a smudging ceremony as part of the Sacred Smoke Bowl Blessing. Photo by Matt Gardner

A display case from the Truth and Reconciliation exhibit features items saved from a classroom library and interest centre at a residential school, along with materials for performing a smudging ceremony as part of the Sacred Smoke Bowl Blessing. Photo by Matt Gardner

 

 

“It’s a simple exhibit, really, but it’s making a point, and we felt that it was important to do something here,” Mallett said.

“It was intended to be smaller than this, but it grew to this size very quickly,” she added. “We put it together, though, just in a few weeks.”

A donation from the Anglican Foundation of Canada helped cover costs of mounting many of the items.

The opening of the exhibit on July 10 coincided with the beginning of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. The resulting influx of visitors has contributed to the high number of people who view the exhibit each day, with a guest book documenting visitors from locations as diverse as Brazil, Italy and the United States.

“Usually we think in terms of a couple hundred people coming into the cathedral during the day, just to come in for a quiet prayer and meditation, or as tourists to come and see a beautiful church,” Mallett said. “But we’re reaching 400 [visitors] a day at this point.”

Many of the items on display reflect both the abysmal conditions that students endured in the residential schools and official indifference, such as letters documenting 10 years of complaints to the federal government that the children should have access to pasteurized milk.

“This is a complaint about children foraging for food in the barn for food that was meant for the livestock,” Mallett said, pointing to another letter. “The children [were] eating it because they were so hungry.”

Artwork on display is a testament to the courage of residential school survivors and ongoing efforts at healing and reconciliation. Reflecting that ongoing process, the exhibit was deliberately left unfinished when it opened, with additional display boards brought in to accommodate new material contributed by visitors.

Along with Mallett, volunteers from the cathedral are present to help answer questions and offer tours.

“People who have come in have in some cases been very interested in the truth and reconciliation, and that’s something that’s very dear to the heart of all Anglicans,” volunteer Mary James said.

The Truth and Reconciliation exhibit runs until the end of August. Located at the corner of King and Church Streets, St. James Cathedral is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from Sunday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, July 24, 2015

Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East will train young Christians

Posted on: July 26th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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The WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit with students, organizers and faculty of the Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East in Beirut, Lebanon.
Photo Credit: World Student Christian Federation – Middle East

[WCC] A new initiative titled Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East is “promising and inspiring” in its attempt to train young Christians in ecumenical thought and history, according to Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

The WCC general secretary met with organizers, students and faculty of the Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East on 20 July during a visit to Beirut, Lebanon.

Some forty students participating in the institute this year come from Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Jordan, Syria, Palestine and Iraq, representing diverse Christian traditions and denominations.

Initiated by the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) – Middle East, the Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East aims to promote and nurture ecumenism and interchurch collaboration in the Arab world, as well as build bridges with people of other faiths for the sake of truthful dialogue.

As a Christian youth body founded in 1895, the WSCF has been offering valuable experience in ecumenical training of young people in the Middle East region for more than 43 years.

After meeting with the students, Tveit said that amid the challenging situation of the region, the Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East holds a significant value for the churches.

“With theologically well qualified teachers, the institute is introducing students to biblical studies and the diversity of Christian traditions, training them to continue with the legacy of the ecumenical movement,” he said.

Tveit called the institute “one way of supporting churches in the troubled region of the Middle East, an expression of solidarity and a viable way of building relations”.

“I trust churches in the region will support this initiative and it can continue working,” said Tveit.

The Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East promotes unity in diversity, peace building and security for all, by training participants who are interested in engaging in ecumenical training and thought.

Some of the themes that will provide a focus of the training sessions include inter-church dialogue, ecumenism, its definition, history and vision, ecumenism in the Middle East, the history of the churches in the region and worldwide, ecumenical institutions, history and achievements. Among other topics will be interfaith dialogue, biblical studies, ecumenism in church and society, contemporary issues and their impact on Middle Eastern populations, human rights and women’s rights, education, development and diakonia.

The Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East will be launched officially on 31 July.

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Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS Today’s top stories, July 23, 2015

New mobile-friendly Anglican Church website launches

Posted on: July 23rd, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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The Anglican Church of Canada has officially unveiled its new website, providing a mobile-friendly format that makes it easier to find resources.

The revamped Anglican.ca, which follows months of active development, builds on the successes of the former church website while taking into account changing trends—specifically, the increasing number of users who access the website from mobile devices such as cellphones and tablets. As a result, the new site uses responsive design to modify the site layout depending on the size of the screen.

A generous grant from the Anglican Foundation of Canada provided the project resources to significantly speed up completion of the improved website.

One of the first things visitors to www.anglican.ca will notice going forward is the new homepage, which offers a simpler interface centred around a search bar in the middle.

“We found that while some users found the ability to have all the links on the homepage useful, the majority of people were overwhelmed,” Web Manager Brian Bukowski said. “They just didn’t know where to look … We’ve tried to simplify the view of the homepage, make it cleaner, a bit more welcoming.”

The prominent search function on the new homepage allows users to quickly find the information they seek. Adjacent buttons make it easy to find a church, get answers to frequently asked questions, or browse job listings.

Further down the page, a series of tabs highlight different areas of the website, including News, Programs, Resources, and information about the Anglican Church of Canada.

The Resources section represents one of the most exciting features of the new site—a centralized resource centre where users can view all the resources created by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Resources are organized both by topic—the primary way for users to focus on resources—and user type, such as parish priests, church leaders or new Anglicans.

The resources themselves reside in the Programs area, providing an alternative way for users to find them. Resources created for Faith, Worship, and Ministry, for example, can also be found in the Faith, Worship, and Ministry section.

Another prominent addition is the Top Resources section, which highlights the most popular resources based on regular website statistics.

“This is just a very quick way for people to access the resources that they’re most using so they don’t even have to go down by topic,” Bukowski said.

Bukowski invited users to send feedback on the new website, whether positive or negative, to webhelp@national.anglican.ca.

“Our hope is to use this initial period [after the launch] to gather feedback and do some improvements over time.”

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, July 22, 2015

Cathedral exhibit extends spirit of the TRC

Posted on: July 20th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Thousands took part in the Walk for Reconciliation in Ottawa, part of the recent closing event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Photo: Anglican Journal


Toronto’s Cathedral Church of St. James has mounted a historical overview of the Anglican church’s often painful relationship with Indigenous peoples, as part of an effort to keep alive the momentum generated by the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in May.

Truth and Reconciliation: A Special Exhibit on the Legacy of the Residential Schools is showing daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the cathedral’s east aisle during July and August. The cathedral is located on the northeast corner of Church and King streets.

The idea of an exhibit was supported by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. “The primate was keenly interested, and we thought this was something we could put together fairly quickly,” said Nancy Mallet, cathedral archivist and exhibits committee chair.

But time was scarce. “We wanted the opening to coincide with the start of the Pan Am Games and the influx of visitors, so as soon as [cathedral] Dean [Douglas] Stoute gave his approval, we went to work and finished up the displays in two weeks,” said Mallet.

Starting with “Beginnings,” the exhibit walks viewers through 262 years of Anglican-Aboriginal relations, first established in 1753 when the Rev. Thomas Wood became missionary to the Mi’kmaq people of Atlantic Canada. He spoke of the need to “civilize the barbarians” and to “calm their savage disposition,” a view perpetuated by the Church of England, Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald and the government-sponsored, church-run residential schools.

From there the exhibit moves to “Truth,” laying bare the culture-eradicating realities of the schools, with their dismal dormitories, coercive classrooms and child labour.  It then passes on to “Apology,” focusing on the landmark remorseful admission of then-primate Archbishop Michael Peers in 1993 that opened the door to today’s efforts at healing and reconciliation.

The exhibit closes on an optimistic note with a very different educational setting from the old residential schools—one that shows contemporary Indigenous children respectfully learning their heritage languages and steeping themselves in their native cultures and values.

Acknowledging the dark legacy of the Indian residential schools, the stained glass window on the exhibit poster was designed by Métis artist Christi Belcourt and installed in 2012 in the centre block of the Parliament Building in Ottawa.  Photo: Courtesy St. James Cathedral


The exhibit has been averaging about 400 viewers a day and there have been some high points. The exhibit has attracted many visitors from Latin America who are extremely aware of Aboriginal-European issues, according to Mallett. “And one man from Japan was very interested and spent the greater part of an hour reading every single caption.”

In town to perform throat boxing—a combination of traditional throat singing, hip hop and beat boxing—at the Pan Am festivities, a young Inuit man was reading a commemorative plaque in the cathedral’s narthex. “Suddenly he got very excited and yelled, ‘That’s my grandfather!’ ” said Mallett. The grandfather? The Rev. Armand Tagoona, the first Inuit priest in the Anglican Church of Canada, who was ordained in May 1960 at St. James.

His 21-year-old grandson, Nelson Tagoona from Baker Lake, Nunavut, is considered a pioneer in this new musical genre and a proud role model for Inuit youth.

“He gave us an impromptu performance to show us the difference between traditional throat singing and throat boxing,” said Mallett.

For more information call 416 364 7865 ext. 233 or email archives@stjamescathedral.on.ca

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Anglican Journal News, July 17, 2015

PWRDF and DFATD Begin 5-year $17.7 million Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Program

Posted on: July 9th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) is pleased to announce a new joint program with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD). PWRDF will contribute $2,654,612 over five years towards the $17,697,412 project that will focus on maternal and child health in 350 villages in Burundi, Mozambique, Rwanda and Tanzania.

 
“PWRDF is deeply satisfied that DFATD has approved an ambitious proposal to scale up the work we are presently doing with them in three countries—Burundi, Mozambique and Tanzania–and adding Rwanda. At the three-year mark in our current DFATD programs, we are seeing many of the five-year results we were aiming at, due to our partnership with strong local partner organizations who know their countries, their cultures and their people,” said Adele Finney, Executive Director of PWRDF. “As we accompany partners, and they accompany vulnerable people making lasting changes in their communities, we see more mothers and babies living and thriving through pregnancy, childbirth and the first years of life. We see siblings, fathers and families growing their own food with confidence.”

 
The program will reach 3,545,315 women of reproductive age, newborns, children under 5 and men, including post-natal care for women, and vaccinations, vitamin A and enough good, healthy food for children to grow to their potential.

 
Health workers and trained birth attendants will be trained to dispense accurate advice on ante- and post-natal care, promote healthy habits, provide basic health care, identify high risk pregnancies and make referrals to government-run medical facilities. Health centres will be equipped with essential equipment, dispensaries, nurses’ houses, and expectant mothers’ houses will be built. Rapid and affordable transportation to medical facilities, including bicycle and motorcycle ambulances will be provided. The project will provide improved access to clean water and nutritious food- the basics of good health. Village leadership and local communities will be mobilized and equipped to continue the work, and to ensure gender rights.

 
PWRDF is proud of its more than 40 year working relationship with DFATD, and looks forward to continuing to work together with partners including Village Health Works (Partners in Health) in Burundi, the Anglican Diocese of Masasi in Tanzania, the Association of Community Health (EHALE) in Mozambique, and Inshuti Mu Buzima (Partners in Health) in Rwanda, to improve the lives of mothers and children throughout their respective regions.

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The Primate’s World Relief and Development website, July 09, 2015

Bishop’s Court to become student discipleship house

Posted on: July 8th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Bishop’s Court sits on the corner of Brunswick and Church streets in downtown Fredericton. Photo: Gisele Mcknight


Bishop’s Court, empty for 18 months, will soon become a home again — this time to university students.

Diocesan Council, at its June 20 meeting, approved the use of Bishop’s Court as a student discipleship residence for a one-year trial beginning in August.

Youth & intergenerational ministries director Colin McDonald made the pitch at the meeting for a place where university students could pay an affordable rent while living, studying, growing and worshiping through the school year, with house parents guiding them.

“Among kids, their belief system is constantly under attack, especially after high school,” Colin told council. “18-24 is often the age that many young people step away from their faith and these days they often don’t come back. How can we better support them?

“We’ve talked about a residential solution for young people while in university.”

Bishop’s Court would serve as a home and a place of support for students who would participate in a regular schedule of prayer, meal preparation and service within the larger community. It would accommodate four or five students, plus the house parents.

Colin cautioned that the house project would not be successful without the support of parishes.

“We need the local Anglican churches to essentially adopt these house kids — come in, share time, cook and share a meal. And the kids would take part in parish life,” he said.

“This will work if we see it as ours. It won’t work if we just put a bunch of kids in the house. It requires parishes to see this as a ministry.”

At the meeting, questions were raised about city zoning, maintenance or repairs, and existing donated furniture.

Bishop David allayed any fears about the donated antiques, saying any furniture that needed to be removed will be before the August opening.

There are still several issues to be addressed before students would be able to move in.

“As a teacher, I think this is a brilliant idea,” said diocesan chancellor David Bell. “Everything will depend on who the house leaders are, but it’s just a brilliant idea.”

House parents will be former Camp Medley director Kurt Goddard and his wife, Rebecca Butler.

Since empty, the annual costs for heat, water and other services has been about $8,000 a year.

The house has two and-a-half bathrooms, four bedrooms on the second floor, plus two bedrooms and a large storage room on the third floor.

On the main floor, there is a double living room, large dining room, plus a large kitchen with laundry room and butler’s pantry. It has a front porch, back entrance mud room and screened porch. The house sits on a corner lot at Church and Brunswick streets, across from Christ Church Cathedral.

Bishop’s Court became empty when Archbishop Claude  Miller  and his wife, Sharon, bought their own property in January 2011. Since then there have been short-term rentals, but it has been empty for the past 18 months.

This or similar housing projects have been successful in Halifax and Edmonton. Similarly, the Archbishop of Canterbury, earlier this year, invited applications from young people world-wide to live and study at Lambeth Palace in the UK.

Colin hopes that eventually, the project can spread to other communities in the diocese that have empty rectories.

“This is about investing in young people and their discipleship,” he said. “We’re using the assets we already have and putting them to work.”

Colin gave an impassioned speech about the project to council members.

“This is important and I’ll tell you why. My experience so far, from Camp Medley is that when September rolls around, the youth leaders are left with no support. They’re left to the world.”

That was followed by several questions from council and unanimous approval.

Council member Rachel Barrett cautioned that the project should not focus too heavily on recruiting Camp Medley staff as residents, lest the house become a clique.

To prepare the house for the students’ arrival, clean, good quality furniture is needed, mainly sofas, living room and dining chairs, large dining table, beds, nightstands and dressers. Contact Colin (506-721-4781) if you have any items you’d like to donate.

If students are interested in living at Bishop’s Court, they must contact Colin by the end of July. A letter of application, describing themselves, why they would like to live at Bishop’s Court and what they would bring to the house community, can be sent to cs_mcdonald at hotmail.com .

Gisele McKnight is editor of the New Brunswick Anglican, the diocesan newspaper of the diocese of Fredericton. She is also communications officer for the diocese. 

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Anglican Journal News, July 08, 2015

Anglican Alliance welcomes faith leadership on climate change action

Posted on: June 30th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Photo Credit: Anglican Alliance
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[Anglican Alliance] In a remarkable week, world church leaders have raised their voices urging decisive action on climate change.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, along with the Ecumenical Patriarch, has underlined our moral responsibility to act now both to reduce human suffering and to preserve the diversity and beauty of God’s creation for future generations.

In a joint article to the New York Times, the two leaders wrote: “As representatives of two major Christian communions, we appeal to the world’s governments to act decisively and conscientiously by signing an ambitious and hopeful agreement in Paris during COP 21 at the end of this year.”

“We hope and pray that this covenant will contain a clear and convincing long-term goal that will chart the course of de-carbonization in the coming years. Only in this way can we reduce the inequality that flows directly from climate injustice within and between countries,” they said.

Archbishop Justin Welby has also committed to fast and pray for the success of negotiations of a universal climate agreement at the UN summit in Paris in December.

Archbishop Welby joined faith leaders in signing the Lambeth Declaration, which calls on faith communities to act on the urgent need to shrink society’s carbon footprint.

The Declaration, signed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and other faith leaders in the UK, warns that world leaders must agree to reduce emissions to avoid average temperatures rising beyond 2⁰C, widely considered to be the threshold above which it is considered that the impacts of climate change will be most severe.

“Archbishop Justin and the other faith leaders have rightly identified the disproportionate impact that climate change is having on the poorest and most vulnerable communities in our world: this is an issue of justice,” said Anglican Alliance Co-Executive Director, the Revd Rachel Carnegie.

Landmark Papal Encyclical

The following day saw the launch of Pope Francis’s highly anticipated, landmark Encyclical, Laudato si’ (Praise be to you) on Care for our Common Home, reflecting on the extreme urgency of action on climate change, which asks the profoundest questions on “what it means to be human”.

Reflecting on humanity’s relationship with the planet, the Pope also highlights how attacks on the environment impact most gravely upon the poorest.

In his Encyclical, Pope Francis writes:  “Today we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”

The Pope reflects on the teaching of St Francis, saying that the saint “shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.”

Reflecting on the Pope’s Encyclical, Rachel Carnegie said: “Pope Francis is showing inspired leadership to bring about not only radical change in lifestyle, production and consumption but also a rethinking of humanity’s relationship with our planet.”

This Encyclical is a “very substantial and compelling document not just for Roman Catholics but for the whole Church and all people who live together in our common home,” said the Church of England’s lead on the environment, Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam.

“Churches and other faith communities have a unique power to mobilise people for the common good and change attitudes and behaviours. We also need to strengthen our politicians to achieve ambitious, accountable and binding climate change agreements, nationally and internationally,” said Bishop Holtam.

“It is electrifying to see Anglicans and other faith leaders boldly coming together in the spirit of the Pope’s Encyclical to address the grave challenge of climate change,” Rachel Carnegie said.

The Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba, Chair of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, welcomed Pope Francis’s emphasis on “the ethical and spiritual roots of environmental problems”.

“The values of dignity and fairness are at the heart of how we respond to the crisis. How we look after the environment is at its core about how we value our fellow human beings,” Archbishop Makgoba said.

The Rt Reverend Dennis P Drainville, Bishop of Quebec, has pledged to make space for the voices of those too long silenced: indigenous peoples and women worldwide.  “We pay dearly for ignoring the depth of their connection with all life and their understanding that we are but one species upon the earth.”

Let us work together to create a “Climate of Hope,” he said.

Some 5000 campaigners and religious leaders marched in Rome on Sunday to show support for Pope Francis’s Encyclical and to send a strong message to world leaders to take action.

At the One Earth, One Human Family event, the Most Reverend Sir David Moxon, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, underlined the need for a global response, said The Guardian.

“The challenge facing Europe and all of the industrialised and industrialising world is very important – we’re going to choke or cook unless we do something about it,” he said.

“What is most welcome about the Pope’s contribution is its timing.  We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last that can do something to stop it… It is vital that leaders respond to this by reducing carbon emissions and delivering support for vulnerable communities already suffering,” said Christine Allen, Christian Aid’s Director of Policy and Public Affairs.

Archbishop Makgoba challenged leaders at the climate talks in Paris in December to show the same inspired moral and ethical leadership.

The priority of climate change

Climate justice is a key priority for the Anglican Alliance, identified in all its regional consultations around the Communion. It also reflects the Fifth Mark of Mission, adopted by the Anglican Consultative Council in 1984: “To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth.”

In 2014, the Anglican Alliance supported the Anglican churches and agencies of the Pacific and Australia in successfully campaigning to have climate change included on the agenda of the G20 world leaders meeting in Brisbane.

In the lead-up to the Paris climate summit in December 2015, the Anglican Alliance has also joined forces with other faith groups in the coalition Our Voices, to bring the combined voices of faith communities to the climate talks.

Anglican Alliance Co-Executive Director, the Revd Andy Bowerman, is joining the People’s Pilgrimage to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris in December.

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Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS Today’s top stories, June 30, 2015

Reconciliation about reclaiming indigenous identity – Bishop Mark MacDonald

Posted on: June 24th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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The Rt Revd Mark MacDonald
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By Susan Kim for the World Council of Churches

We are entering an era in which the public has a broader awareness of the rights of indigenous peoples, said Bishop Mark MacDonald, WCC president for North America and the National Indigenous Bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada.

“I especially see, during the past seven years, the indigenous peoples in Canada and really all the world have been moving toward self-determination and the actualization of the principal values of their elders,” he said.

What’s vital, at this point, he said, is a collective public sense that indigenous peoples must move ahead with their self-determination. “I would say that this is the most important aspect: that people will be strong in this no matter what. I think that’s really critical.”

Reflecting on his reading of Roman Catholic theologian Robert Schreiter, who has studied and advocated for reconciliation worldwide, MacDonald said reconciliation is ultimately about reclaiming indigenous identity. “Reconciliation doesn’t happen when an oppressor decides to be nice. Reconciliation begins when an oppressed people reclaim their humanity,” MacDonald said.

Climate change tied to indigenous identity

The identity of an indigenous person is often tied to the land, MacDonald continued. “In today’s world, there is an assault on the land, and on our relationship with the land and with the creatures involved. This assault is experienced in a very painful way by indigenous people.”

Many people regard with sadness the historical events during which indigenous peoples were dispossessed of their land. But climate change has resulted in a continuous, present-day dispossession of land, pointed out MacDonald. “What we see now with issues of climate injustice is an ongoing acceleration of dispossession that is threatening in so many ways to indigenous peoples — threatening to their food security and their life security. The people least responsible are most affected.”

During an Interfaith Summit on Climate Change in September 2014 in New York, 30 leaders from nine different faith traditions stood together as one, strengthening a unified call for international political leaders to respond effectively to the climate change challenge. “So many of these speakers talked about climate injustice, about it being integral to the wellness of indigenous peoples. There is no good future for our planet that doesn’t involve indigenous peoples,” said MacDonald.

While MacDonald values what he terms his “western” education, the things he has learned from his elders have been invaluable in terms of his own indigenous identity. “In terms of understanding the world I live in, and who I am in that world, the elders have been most critical,” he said.

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Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS Today’s top stories, June 24, 2015

Pastoral resource on assisted suicide to be released in November

Posted on: June 24th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Anglican Journal staff

The Anglican Church of Canada’s task force on physician-assisted suicide had its first in-person meeting in Toronto earlier this month. Photo: Shutterstock


This fall, the Anglican Church of Canada’s task force on physician-assisted suicide will release a new pastoral resource. The material is designed to provide spiritual and other guidance for clergy and lay leaders dealing with the realities of the Supreme Court of Canada’s February ruling that will legalize physician-assisted suicide in 2016.

After a winter of research and conference calling, the diverse eight-member task force (which includes one Lutheran) met at General Synod offices in Toronto on June 1 and 2.  It plans to complete a first draft by Sept. 1 and have the final document ready for Council of General Synod in November.

“We’re not looking at this point to come out with a document that says the Supreme Court was right or wrong,” says the Rev. Canon Eric Beresford, the group’s chair and theologian-in-residence at Trinity Anglican Church in Aurora, Ont., adding, however, that many Anglicans would like the group to do that.

An ethicist from the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Beresford served as an editor for the church’s 1998 study document Care in Dying: A Consideration of the Practices of Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide.

“We made a pitch for a certain perspective in 1998,” he says, referring to Care in Dying. “We don’t see much [reason] to simply revisit that attempt to [influence] public policy because public policy has now very substantially moved and is not going to back any time soon.”

The real question now is what it means to witness as Anglicans in the midst of this altered ethical situation. “We are in a new context where people have a new legal choice. So it’s not going to be a revision of 1998,” says task force member the Rev. Dr. Eileen Scully, the church’s director of faith, worship and ministry. “We’re picking up where Care in Dying leaves off to create a resource that will be pastorally useful to clergy and leaders who are actually accompanying people in palliation.”

That will require addressing this complex issue from several angles: theological, ethical, medical and pastoral, something the professionally diverse task force is well equipped to do. “How do we walk with people dying or in severe pain and their families? What is the role of the pastor and the church in accompanying people into death?” Scully says. She adds that we are currently waiting in a middle place for appropriate federal and provincial legislation and health-care profession regulations to be put in place for next year as per the Carter v Canada ruling of Feb 2, 2015.

In this decision, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously struck down a Criminal Code provision against physician-assisted suicide and gave mentally competent Canadian adults suffering intolerably and enduringly the right to a doctor’s help in dying. Suspending its ruling for 12 months, it gave federal and provincial governments and health-care organization regulators enough time to amend their laws and regulations by Feb. 2, 2016.

Beresford notes that there is broad diversity of views on the matter in the task force, which includes a physician, a retired nursing professor, a lawyer, a parish priest and a chaplaincy coordinator deeply experienced in hospital and hospice pastoral care. “But whatever our view, we are going to be facing the reality of people needing pastoral care in the middle of difficult situations, and just saying ‘No, no, you shouldn’t, it’s wicked’ isn’t going to be effective pastoral care,” he said.

Because the issue is such a complex one, the Anglican response will have to be multifaceted and capable of addressing omissions in the Supreme Court ruling, Beresford added. “When it talks about avoiding coercion and requiring consent. What exactly do those things mean? And a lot of decisions are now made with competent minors as if they were adults. Are they included in this?” Scully added that the task force will definitely be tackling gaps such as the lack of definition of adulthood and guidelines for assessing coercion.

Another potential loophole is that unlike jurisdictions such as Oregon, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium, the Canadian decision doesn’t require the patient to be irreversibly in the process of dying, but rather in irremediable suffering.  “Many of us recognize that there’s going to be some pressure in the future to say, ‘Well if it is unconstitutional to prevent someone who is a competent adult but who is facing unbearable pain of suffering from having that alleviated by being assisted in their dying, why do other groups who don’t pass the competency test have to be forced to face pain and suffering indefinitely?” Beresford said.

The task force will also assess the state of palliation and hospice in Canada and consider concrete actions the church could take to improve palliative care, once proposed as an alternative to assisted death. “At the time of Care in Dying, we had hoped for better palliation,” said Scully, “but 20 years later, not much progress has been made in most places.”

According to Beresford, the Supreme Court, in fact, dismissed the palliative alternative early on because the chief witness admitted that palliative care often didn’t fulfill patients’ needs. “Palliative care should be primarily patient-centred. It is about the patient’s being able to make effective and informed decisions about how the pain and discomfort of their dying process are managed, and that’s unfortunately not what’s happening,” he said.

That fact is a major challenge to the church, Beresford added, noting that the U.K.’s hospice program is a child of the church. “If we really believe that palliative care would give people more humane choices, then we need to be at the front of not just advocating for it but also of working to raise and provide resources in co-operation with the wider community.”

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Anglican Journal News, June 24, 2015